The Muddy Guide: What’s On 14 – 21 April
Surface from the chocolate binge to get crawly in Crawley, catch a famous train at the Bluebell Railway or enjoy comedy from a Russell or two in Hastings. There’s plenty more around the county to make you laugh and gasp and for more family-friendly ideas for the school holidays don’t miss my Bumper Easter guide.
The Flying Scotsman at Bluebell Railway, three East Sussex stations, Thurs 13 – Wed 19 April
Come and see the famous Flying Scotsman at close quarters as it steams into the Bluebell Railway for a week over Easter. You can enjoy unlimited travel all day on the Bluebell’s own trains for £25, or simply watch the passing vintage trains at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote for £10 per station. The Bluebell’s museum and loco sheds are based at Sheffield Park. See the timetable on the website for details of what’s where when. Choo Choo!
Russell Brand Re:Birth/ Russell Kane, White Rock Theatre, Hastings Tues 18/Wed 19 April
If you’ve a hankering to see a comedian called Russell, next week in Hastings is your big chance. There are still a few tickets left for Russell Brand (£31) at the White Rock Theatre on 18 April and the following day Russell Kane (£20) will be taking to the same stage with his show about growing up and growing down. Perhaps see both and compare and contrast. Brand is also at the The Hawth, Crawley 4 July; Assembly Hall, Worthing 25 July; Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells 20 Sept; Brighton Dome 5 Nov, but beware some shows are selling out early.
National Trust Cadbury Egg Hunts, various locations, various dates, especially 14- 17 April
Choccy prizes await at various National Trust houses across the county that have their own take on the traditional Easter egg hunt. Most are running for at least this bank holiday weekend. Among them are Alfriston Clergy House, Polegate and Petworth House, where families can search for hidden bunnies, Devil’s Dyke near Brighton where there’s also an egg rolling competition, Woolbeding Countryside near Midhurst where there’s egg decorating, racing and an egg shy on Easter Sunday and Uppark House near Petersfield where there’s a native bird-themed hunt around the house and gardens that’s running between 8 and 23 April. Search for your nearest egg hunt venue by postcode on the link below. Most have a small charge on top of any admission price.
NT Live: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Thurs 20 April, various Sussex cinemas
Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig star in Tom Stoppard’s situation comedy, broadcast live from London’s Old Vic. I’ve see many versions of Hamlet over the years and even took the lead in Stoppard’s 15 Minute Hamlet (OK it was in the school drama studio when I was 17) but somehow I’ve never got around to seeing this other famous comic spin off – until now. David Leveaux’s new production marks the 50th anniversary of the play which sees hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, take centre stage. As the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of Hamlet they become increasingly out of their depth. Stick your postcode in the website to find your nearest screening.
Naomi’s Wild & Scary, The Hawth, Crawley, Sun 19 Apr, Brighton Dome, 23 April
Oh, how I hate big spiders, so I’ve had to squint to add this picture for you! If, however, you have children who love Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature on CBBC and you can stomach such creatures yourself then don’t miss the chance to catch her on a nationwide tour. I’ve heard great things about this stage show – not least that it’s packed full of fun and surprises, live on stage, some really scary creatures, including a carpet python, alligator snapping turtle, a giant centipede and a tarantula <shudder> Catch it at Crawley on 19 April or Brighton on 23 April. The age guideline is 5+. Tickets are £21.50 (child: £16.50) or family of four £60 at Crawley or £19.50, (£15.50), £65 for families at the Dome.
Coppélia, recorded broadcast, various cinemas, 19 April/ Cinderella White Rock Theatre, Hastings, 24 April
Coppelia, the ballet about a doll that comes to life is great for adults and kids. I remember seeing it myself as a youngster. Swanilda and Franz are in love until the appearance of magician and inventor Dr Coppelius and his mysterious daughter Coppélia upset the balance. However, Dr Coppelius’ haughty daughter is not what she seems. Worthing, Uckfield, Hailsham, Burgess Hill and Tunbridge Wells are among places with screenings – check your nearest cinema. Meanwhile at White Rock Theatre, Hastings there’s more family-friendly dancing live on stage on 24 April with a performance of Cinderella by Vienna Festival Ballet. Tickets are from £17.00.
Normans and Crusaders, Arundel Castle, Sat 15 – Mon 17 April
Arundel Castle has just reopened, with historical fun lined up for Easter and celebrations of the 950th anniversary of the order to build the castle. Over the weekend at an historical tented encampment Normans & Crusaders day will recreate the crafts, weapons training, and battle tactics of the late 12th century. Have fun with a story teller, falconry, have-a-go-archery (for over 8’s) and combat demonstrations. Fiiiiiight! (In a safe, educational way, of course).
Rendez-Vouz 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Greenwich, Thurs 13 to Sun 16 April
I flagged this up last week and there’s still time to get organised to catch it this weekend. You can see some beautiful tall ships from special festival villages with entertainment and food at Cutty Sark Gardens in Greenwich and the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich between Thursday and Sunday. The ships will also be sailing up and down the Thames between Woolwich and Tower Bridge. Want to get on board to find out how it felt to navigate the great oceans? Tickets are available for daytime, evening and fireworks cruises. While you’re in Greenwich pop in free to see the spectacular painted ceiling in the Royal Naval College – you can climb right up close to it while it’s being restored.
Animazing Collection @ Towner Art Gallery, Hastings, Fri 14 April
Stop animation enthusiasts Animazing are bringing an exhibition of classic children’s TV memorabilia to Hastings’ Towner Art Gallery on Good Friday 14:00 – 15:00. Come and see goodies from 70 years of children’s television, from Muffin the Mule and Sooty and Sweep, to Thunderbirds and Wallace & Gromit – your kids should enjoy it too! The same exhibition will come to Eastbourne in the summer.
Banff Mountain Film Festival, Brighton Dome April 20
The prestigious mountain short film festival is back. See thought-provoking pieces and amazing footage of adrenaline sports around the world. This is a new batch of films to those shown at the Dome in January so if you love mountains come fill your boots again. Tickets are £15.50.
Open morning, Lavant House Stables, near Chichester, Fri 14 April
Pony and tractor rides, face painting, competitions, donkeys to meet and refreshments to scoff – it’s all happening at Lavant House Stables near Chichester during their Good Friday open morning. Just turn up between 10.00am and 1.00pm. There’s a picnic area, play area and on site parking.
Harlem Globetrotters, Brighton Centre, Sat 15 April/Diversity Tues 18 April
I remember being wowed by these guys as a kid. OK not these actual guys but their predecessors. If you haven’t seen the Harlem Globetrotters before then expect a really fun family show with incredible basketball handling wizardry and trick shots – they broke seven Guinness World Records last year – plus plenty of comedy and audience interaction. After the game, Globetrotter stars will sign autographs and take photos with fans. Tickets are from, £19.50 there’s also a Magic Pass upgrade where you meet the team and try some fun on court before the show. Later in the week Diversity will be showing off their street dance skills in a superhero themed show. The youngest one must be getting a bit heavy throwing around by now. Tickets for that night are from £27.90. Ricky Gervais and Adam Ant are coming up at the Brighton centre in May.
Sister Act Live Choir, Central Hall Westminster, London, Fri 21, Sat 22 and Fri 28 – Sat 29 April
OK this one ‘aint cheap but it sounds a lot of fun. Part film, part gig, Sister Act Live Choir returns with an immersive screening of the musical comedy classic. Sing along with fellow fans as the movie is played on a huge screen accompanied by a band and the Uplifted Voices gospel choir of over 30 singers performing hit songs from the soundtrack. Tickets are from £35.
Richard Herring, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Sun 23 Apr
Creating a kind of comedy greatest hits, Richard Herring has picked his favourite routines from his 12 one-man shows and is cramming them into 90 minutes of stand up for your delectation. From his deconstruction of the genealogy of Christ to him proving that racists are less racist than liberals, via err ‘some of the best knob jokes in the business’. Tickets are £19.15
Billy Ocean, Brighton Dome, Mon 24 April
There’s limited availability now for Billy Ocean, who’s coming up at Brighton Dome on Mon April 24. So, if you want to get all nostalgia over Caribbean Queen and When the Going Gets Tough you’d better get going down to the box office. Tickets are from £24. The support is YolanDa Brown.
Rich Hall’s Hoedown, The Hawth, Crawley, Sat 6 May
The gravel-voiced comic from Montana is a big favourite in the Muddy house, I’ve seen him perform several times and I’ve just gone and booked tickets for this gig too which happens to neatly fall on my birthday – thanks Rich. You may have seen him on QI but you’ve missed out if you haven’t heard his hilarious country-style songs. Some of the best are improvised by drawing in details of audience members. Catch him at The Hawth for one night only. Tickets costs £18.50. He’ll be back for Brighton Festival, appearing at the Theatre Royal on 21 May.